Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Morning Prayer - What's that about then?

I've been privileged to be on the end of some amazingly diverse responses to the morning prayer (mp) that appears in this place each morning* over the past couple of weeks. At the extremes they look like this

"What's the point of having a blog where you just copy the daily office and post it as yours?"


"Thank you for the morning prayer - I use it on the train on the way in or during my morning tea break and it has changed the way I pray and I'm learning the Bible too."

For those who think like the first commentator regarding the presence of the morning prayer here, let me try to enlighten you as to the what, how and why of it all:

First and foremost it is there because the daily office (morning and evening prayer) are something that those of us who are ordained promise to engage in as part of the positive response we gave to the question, "Will you be diligent in prayer, in reading Holy Scripture, and in all studies that will deepen your faith and fit you to bear witness to the truth of the gospel?" 
That said I was once told by a bishop that listening to BBC Radio Four's 'Thought for the Day' was an acceptable substitute in our busy lives!

As someone who works with people to help them discern the calling God has upon their life (we all have a calling, the key is to find what it is and to respond to it in a positive and enabling manner) one of the big issues that crops up lies in the discipline of prayer and reading of the Bible - disciplines that do not come easily to many of us - and one of the best ways to do this is to get them to make space for my abridged Psalms, collect and readings.

So it's not just, as one dear chap suggested, "An opportunity to post something," because believe me, I have much that I'd love to post at times but not all of it is good, edifying or perhaps helpful. But the morning prayer post is because it keeps me focussed because I know that on the mornings when I don't feel like it I know that God and others are waiting to read the words on the blog and that keeps me honest too.

The morning prayer generally appears just after I have done it myself (yes, I do do it at five in the morning some days!) and this is something else that I like because I feel myself as part of community in that others will be doing that same readings and collect and this, like the good old days with the Book of Common Prayer, means that there is a unity of prayer and praise rising up across the 24hrs of each day.

This thought is echoed wonderfully by the words of that great hymn 'The day Thou gavest Lord, is ended'

As o’er each continent and island the dawn leads on another day, 
The voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away. 
The sun that bids us rest is waking uur brethren ’neath the western sky, 
And hour by hour fresh lips are making Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So there it is - not a 'page fill' but much, much, much more as it calls us to pray and praise from the heart, from the Book and in unity with many who with us are The Church.

postscript. I've just been asked (that was quick!) why not just point people to the whole morning prayer service rather than post my own abridged set of readings. The answer is simple in that I am attempting to get people reading and praying as a discipline and so start with the essentials in the hope that later some will graduate to the full thing. It's about developing a habit rather than trying to get people to do a service - and there is the fact that some who find the service tough have written to say how they can cope with the bare bones version here.


*Yes I know I've missed some before you say it (and you know who I'm talking to) because sometimes location makes getting a connection difficult - but it's almost 100%

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